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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Corporate Lobbying and Policymaking in the Global Economy (PLIT10166)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the governance of the global economy by private corporations. It is structured around several fundamental questions. What role do corporations play in international institutions and what is the nature and extent of their authority? How do the shifting forces of globalization (and anti-globalization) affect the power business wields to shape public policies? In what ways do new trends in corporate sustainability (like conscious capitalism, corporate social responsibility and 'business for good') impact corporate lobbying? Finally, how powerful are corporations in global politics? In seeking answers to these questions, this course covers both theoretical and empirical perspectives on how, when, and why corporations are able to influence international institutions, global standards and regulations, and international negotiation processes.
Course description The course has two parts. First, it reviews different theoretical approaches to analysing how corporate influence over global public policymaking operates, and what challenges we face in understanding these dynamics. These approaches include, for example: population ecology, exchange and economic theories of lobbying, politicization, issue attention cycle, and informational models of lobbying. Second, it reviews scholarship on corporate lobbying dynamics in a variety of different areas in global governance, such as international trade, pharmaceuticals and health care, financial regulation, intellectual property rights and global environmental politics. The European Union is used a focal case for comparison with intergovernmental and regional organizations.

Indicative topics include: Corporate Lobbying Strategies; Balancing Corporate Lobbying: Advocacy & Social Movements; Interest Group Intermediation and Regulation; Transnational Corporate Elites and the Global Economy; Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Lobbying; Financial Industry Lobbying; Lobbying, Data Protection, and Internet Governance; Platform Firms and the New World of Lobbying; Practitioner's perspective on lobbying: careers, training, prospects.

The course teaches students how to think critically about corporate lobbying and influence in global public policymaking. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, students learn how to identify and understand the different means that private sector groups use to shape different aspects of global governance and global and regional policymaking. Through the use of multiple case studies, students learn how some of the most important facets of the global economy today are being shaped by private sector actors. Students are also encouraged to think analytically and critically about the role of corporations, lobbyists, market forces, and how global governance operates by exploring the limitations to private sector influence. Finally, assessments are both practical and academic. The practical element sees students developing and presenting campaign pitches on a real-world governance case study. Effort will be made to bring in guest speakers from the corporate lobbying sector to give students a practitioner's view of the topic. The academic element sees students develop and support an argument related to current debates in the literature on corporate lobbying and policymaking.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.

Knowledge acquired in Research Design in PIR (PLIT10106) will be highly beneficial for students, but is not required.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least four Politics/IR courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). Only university/college level courses will be considered.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 3500 word Research Paper, 80%
Students either select an essay question or develop their own essay question.

15 minute Group Campaign Pitch, 20%
Working in small groups, students develop a lobbying campaign pitch for a fictional 'client'. The pitch addresses a specific real-world policy issue related to regulatory or legislative proposals. Indicative topics include: food labelling regulations, sustainable finance, social media regulation, toy safety, and whistleblower protection.
Feedback Feedback on all assessed work shall normally be returned within three weeks of submission. Where this is not possible, students shall be given clear expectations regarding the timing and methods of feedback.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the role of corporation in the global economy in the broader context of social, political, and economic transformations as well as how this relates to academic work in political science, public policy, development studies, and economics.
  2. Meaningfully engage in debates about globalization, financialization, and corporate power, as well as the other themes of the course.
  3. Appraise the role of corporations in global governance processes and international public policymaking.
  4. Identify key policy global public policy challenges and the promises and perils of corporate political activity at the global level.
  5. Professionally communicate policy advice in the form of policy briefs and policy pitches as well as interviewing industry and policy leaders.
Reading List
1. Harris, P. A. Bitonti, C. Fleisher, and A. Binderkrantz eds. (2022) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Interest Groups, Lobbying and Public Affairs. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
2. Baldwin, R. M. Cave, and M. Lodge eds. (2010). Oxford Handbook of Regulation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
3. Baumgartner, F. R., J. M. Berry, M. Hojnacki, B. L. Leech & D. C. Kimball, (2009). Lobbying and policy change: Who wins, who loses, and why. University of Chicago Press.
4. Mahoney, C. (2008). Brussels versus the Beltway. Advocacy in the United States and the European Union, Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
5. Hula, K. W. (1999). Lobbying Together. Interest Group Coalitions in Legislative Politics. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Outlook and engagement: University of Edinburgh graduates draw on the quality, depth and breadth of their experiences to engage with the communities and world around them. With an informed international perspective, they seek to contribute positively, ethically and respectfully.
- Research and enquiry: University of Edinburgh graduates use their highly-developed skills in research and enquiry to identify and creatively tackle problems, and to seek out opportunities for learning.
- Communication: University of Edinburgh graduates use skilled communication to enhance their understanding of a topic or context and to engage effectively with others.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Adam Chalmers
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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